Lenovo ThinkPad X12 detachable notebook, another choice for Surface Pro

The ThinkPad X12 detachable laptop is a worthy business-centric alternative to the Surface Pro 7. Even at lower resolutions, its performance is better, it has a better detachable keyboard, and the display quality is higher. It can be said that ThinkPad X12 Detachable is better than Surface Pro 7.

Since Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s Surface Pro has always dominated the detachable tablet category. Although there is competition, no one can replace Surface Pro as the best 2-in-1 tablet. In recent years, fewer direct competitors have been introduced.

However, Lenovo did not stop it from launching the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, the first detachable tablet in the past three years. The company sent me a well-configured evaluation unit with an 11th-generation Intel Core i5-1130G7 CPU, 16GB RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, and a 12.3-inch Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,280) display. Other options are available, including CPUs with Intel vPro for Enterprise features.

The price includes a detachable keyboard and a movable pen. When not on sale, both are optional on the slightly more expensive Surface Pro 7 (and at an additional cost). Does ThinkPad X12 Detachable use its relatively low price and ThinkPad design to present a reasonable challenge to clear leaders?


Lenovo applies the usual ThinkPad design formula to the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. First, it retains the most common all-black aesthetic of the series, with a touch of red. There is usually an LED dot above the “i” on the front logo, and the detachable keyboard has a red TrackPoint keypad and red striped buttons. You will recognize it as a ThinkPad from a distance, and you cannot confuse it with the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro 7 has a similar shape, but is light silver and looks a bit modern.

Second, the ThinkPad X12 detachable stand is made of magnesium alloy, which is both lightweight and durable-the durability test that meets military standards is the ThinkPad trademark. Interestingly, the Surface Pro 7 is also made of magnesium alloy, although it feels no different. This is thanks to the soft-touch surface of the ThinkPad, which is warmer and more attractive than the colder metal texture of the Surface Pro 7. However, both tablets exude high quality, and both are equally good.

The detachable size of the ThinkPad X12 is almost the same as that of the Surface Pro 7, and each size is within a few millimeters. For example, ThinkPad is 0.34 inches thick and weighs 1.67 pounds, while Surface Pro 7 is 0.33 inches thick and weighs 1.7 pounds. The bezels are about the same size, larger than you see on modern clamshell and convertible laptops such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360 14. These sizes only apply to tablets-plus ThinkPad’s detachable keyboard and Surface Pro 7’s Type Cover, they are still very close in size and slightly thicker.

Lenovo also freely borrowed the design of the Surface Pro from its stand, which, like Microsoft’s tablet computer, extends from the center of the back of the tablet computer at various angles to almost flat. The mechanism feels the same and is both stable and reliable in keeping each tablet in the desired position. If you want to copy, ThinkPad X12 Detachable demo, it’s best to copy.

ThinkPad X12 Detachable benefits from its 11th generation Intel CPU, which provides a USB-C port supporting Thunderbolt 4 and a second USB-C 3.2 port, 3.5mm audio jack and Nano SIM card slot to support optional 4G LTE. WWAN. In contrast, the Surface Pro 7 has a USB-C port (Thunderbolt is not supported), a USB-A port, a Surface Connect port and a microSD card reader. ThinkPad’s wireless connection (such as that of Surface Pro 7) is built around Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

which performed

The Core i5-1130G7 CPU in the ThinkPad X12 detachable processor is a low-power version of the chip. Its operating frequency is 4GHz, while the more common Core i5-1135G7 is 4.2GHz, and the thermal design power (TDP) is 7 between. And 15 watts. Therefore, it can be expected to run slower and cooler. During my testing, the fan sometimes spins, but it is very quiet. Please note that Lenovo has implemented the performance mode through the ThinkPad X12 Detachable using the Windows 10 power slider. I tested using standard mode and performance mode, and in most of the tests, only noticed slight differences between the two.

It is difficult to directly compare the performance of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable with the performance of the Surface Pro 7, because since we studied Microsoft’s 2-in-1, we have changed many benchmarks. The Surface Pro 7 we reviewed uses a customized version of Intel’s 10th-generation Ice Lake CPU, Core i5-1035G4, which makes it better than the Tiger Lake-based ThinkPad generation. We can compare the results of Geekbench 4, where Surface Pro 7 scored 4,957 in the single-core test, 17,145 in the multi-core test, and ThinkPad X12 Detachable scored 5,719 and 18,385 respectively. We can also take a look at Handbrake 1.0.7, which is an older version of the benchmark test used to test the speed of a laptop computer to encode 420MB video to H.265. Here, ThinkPad took a little more than three minutes, while Surface Pro 7 took nearly five and a half minutes.

Overall, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable tablet is a fast enough tablet for users with higher productivity, and its performance may be faster than the old Surface Pro 7. However, it can’t keep up with today’s fastest clamshell and convertible 2-in-1 tablets. In addition to possibly achieving satisfactory productivity performance, you may also need to consider other form factors.

If you are a gamer, you can definitely pass ThinkPad. Even with the Intel Iris Xe graphics card, it can only gather 13 frames per second (fps) under Fortnite’s 1080p and high-quality conditions. Under the same settings, most Tiger Lake laptops with the same GPU have a hit rate of 30 fps or faster.

Show off

The ThinkPad X12 detachable monitor has a 12.3-inch IPS display, the same size as the Surface Pro 7. But this is a lower resolution, Full HD + (1,920 x 1,280), while the Surface Pro 7 has a much higher resolution of 2,736 x 1,824. Although some users don’t mind the difference on such a small display, it makes Microsoft’s display clearer.

According to my colorimeter, the ThinkPad X12 detachable display can be consistent with the Surface Pro 7 display (except for the resolution). Compared with Surface Pro 7’s 377 nits, its brightness is 364 nits, while Surface Pro 7 has a contrast ratio of 940:1, and Surface Pro 7 has a contrast ratio of 1140:1. (We do hope to see this indicator reach 1000:1 or higher, but the color gamut of ThinkPad X12 Detachable is also wider than that of Surface Pro 7. The color gamut is 97% of sRGB and 72% of Adobe RGB (approximately that of high-end notebook computers). Average), compared to 93% and 70%, respectively. ThinkPad’s display is also more accurate, with a DeltaE of 1.59 compared to Surface Pro 7’s frustrating 3.51 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent) .

Compared with other notebook computers, ThinkPad displays are competitive. The Dell XPS 13 Full HD display is far ahead in terms of brightness of 458 nits, contrast ratio of 1350:1, color gamuts of 98% and 75%, and color accuracy of 1.35-but this is the exception. For example, Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 lags behind 341 nits in most cases, with 95% and 71% color gamuts and 3.74 color accuracy. Only its 1060:1 contrast ratio is higher. The OLED display of the HP Spectre x350 14 blows all these laptops out of the water with all metrics except brightness (374 nits), with 100% and 96% color gamuts, 374,200:1 contrast ratio, and 0.69 Color accuracy.

Although the resolution of the ThinkPad X12 is different from that of the Surface Pro 7, it has wider, more accurate colors and almost the same contrast. It is generally better than the average level of high-end laptops, and in daily tests, I found its display effect to be pleasing. And I didn’t really miss the super high resolution of Surface Pro 7.

The front opening dual speakers performed poorly. They are very small. Although the treble and midrange are good, some laptops don’t even have a basic. You need a pair of headphones or external speakers to make Netflix guzzle or listen to your favorite music.

Keyboard and trackpad

As mentioned earlier, Lenovo includes a detachable keyboard in the box, which is a good keyboard. Of course, it is smaller than a typical ThinkPad keyboard, but it provides the same engraved keys, inverted Fn and Ctrl keys (very clumsy, but can be switched in the settings), and an excellent ThinkPad mechanism. Although less than a large ThinkPad keyboard, it travels a lot, and I actually prefer key switches-they are lighter than a full-size ThinkPad keyboard, just like the keyboard on the ThinkPad X1 Nano. I really like this to make the keyboard clearer and more precise , Although it doesn’t match the HP Spectre or Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBook, it’s a close second. And I like it better than the optional $130 Type Cover for Surface Pro 7.

Perhaps equally impressive, although the Lenovo keyboard is connected to the tablet part via pogo pins (such as Type Cover) via pogo pins and propped up at a similar angle, it is much stronger than the products provided by Microsoft. When typing on the ThinkPad X12 Detachable keyboard, you pay much less. Compared with the Type Cover, it feels more solid. It is not much different from typing on a “normal” laptop keyboard, and of course, it is the same difficulty as using Surface Pro 7 on the surface.

The center of the keyboard also includes the TrackPoint summary, which is a ThinkPad staple, which works well for those who still use it. As usual, the TrackPoint button does make the touchpad out of space, making the touchpad smaller. Nevertheless, with the support of the Microsoft Precision touchpad and a comfortable sliding surface, the touchpad works well with the multi-touch gestures of Windows 10 and is comparable to Microsoft’s Type Cover touchpad. In fact, it’s as good as clamshell laptops and convertible laptops such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360 13, albeit smaller.

Finally, the infrared camera for facial recognition and the fingerprint scanner on the keyboard dock both provide Windows 10 Hello support. I found that both methods can quickly and reliably log in to Windows 10 without a password. Lenovo provides a ThinkShutter physical switch to block the webcam to protect privacy.

Battery Life

Lenovo packs a 42-watt-hour battery into the compact body of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. For tablets, this is a considerable amount of battery-Surface Pro 7 has a battery power of 45 watt-hours, but it also has a higher resolution display. I expect low-power CPUs to extend battery life.

Brief summary

ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a useful competitor to Surface Pro 7, and it actually surpasses it in several key areas. Even at lower resolutions, its performance is better, it has a better detachable keyboard, and the display quality is higher. It can be said that ThinkPad X12 Detachable is better than Surface Pro 7, and Surface Pro 7+ may be needed to keep the product line at the top.

If you are looking for a 2-in-1 detachable tablet, then you will face a difficult decision. However, don’t let the past dominance of Surface Pro 7 make you go beyond the detachability of the ThinkPad X12.

If you don’t like the detachable tablet format, but still want a two-in-one, then the HP Spectre x360 14 is a good choice. It is roughly the same price and offers spectacular OLED display options in 4K and 13.5-inch. It is a larger and heavier device and is hardly suitable for inking, but unless it is your main purpose, HP is a good choice.

Finally, if you don’t care about 2-in-1 functionality, then Dell XPS 13 is an obvious choice. It is the best laptop and will provide almost the same small case, but provide better performance and better display. Of course, I should mention the increasing competition between iPad Pro and Windows 10 tablets. If you don’t buy Windows 10 or its older apps, then iPad Pro is a viable option.

The ThinkPad X12 detachable laptop is durable and equipped with the latest components. It should provide you with many years of service, but unfortunately, the warranty is only available for the first year. However, Lenovo does have several enhanced service products to consider. The ThinkPad X12 detachable is an excellent two-in-one product that makes Surface Pro 7 value for money.

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